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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Cassandra Clare, Holly Black

"I need a book!" a breathless eighth grader said running into my office. "We're going to camp and I forgot one!" I handed her this book and off she ran. Yippy. Now I have to rely on my noodle-like memory to write this review. A memory that is iffy at best. You've been forewarned. This  action-packed quick read will either make you want to nose-dive into the sequel or not. I would call this an urban fantasy and English school-boy genre mix that follows a plot pattern similar to Harry Potter.

Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt believes magic is bad. His father and mother were magicians at the Magisterium, a school that trains magicians, when a war broke out between mages killing many people including Callum's mom. When Callum has to go to the school for an exam he works hard to fail the magic tests. He manages to blow up quite a few things and is such a spectacular failure, he is apprenticed to the best magician at the school.

Callum was crippled at birth by a devastating leg fracture that left him with 60 pins and iron rods in his leg to help him walk (I might be off on the number - it was a lot of pins either way). Callum, who goes by Call, is an angry boy who has been teased and picked on his entire life because of his bum leg. He is mouthy and does not respect peers or authority figures. His sarcastic comments and resistance to going to school make it seem that he will not be teachable. This changes when he starts to make friends with Tamara and Aaron, classmates that break through his hard shell and show what friendship and loyalty mean in a harsh world.

Call represents the good and evil in all of us. He makes good choices and bad choices as he learns to deal with his past and the revelations of his future.  Sometimes the plot felt manipulative but for the most part I galloped through the adventure as a happy camper. Although I ended by spilling tea on the book that I now have to replace. Oh well. I told the girl I gave it to not to worry if she damaged the book at camp since it looked like I had dropped it in a mud puddle.

4 Smileys

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